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Full text of "My country and my people"

PROLOGUE   TO   PART   TWO
WE have now surveyed the mental and moral constitution of the Chinese people, and the ideals of life which influence the fundamental pattern of Chinese life. It remains to make a study of Chinese life itself in its sexual, social, political, literary and artistic aspects. Stated briefly, these will cover Chinese womens society, governments, literature and art, together with a special chapter devoted to the art of living as the Chinese have conceived and practised it. These arrange themselves again into two groups. The first three are necessarily connected, for an understanding of the life of women and the home will lead to a consideration of the Chinese social life, and only from a true understanding of the Chinese social life will it be possible to understand the administration of justice and government in China. The study of these visible aspects of Chinese life will naturally lead to an inquiry into the subtler and less known problems of Chinese culture, especially in the field of art, with an outlook and a history of development peculiar to the Chinese people and totally different from the West. The Chinese culture is one of the truly indigenous cultures of the world, and as such will be found to offer many interesting points of comparison" with Western culture,
For culture is a product of leisure^ and the Chinese have had the immense leisure of three thousand years to develop it. In these three thousand years they have had plenty of time to drink tea and look at life quietly over their teacups, and from the gossip over the teacups they have boiled life down to its essence. They have had plenty of time, too, to discuss their forefathers, to ponder over their achievements and to review the successive changes of the modes of art and of life, and to see their own in die light of the long past. And from this gossiping and pondering history came to have a great meaning: it came to be spoken of as the "mirror" which reflects human experience for the benefit of the present and which is like a
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